Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Expanding Universe

I am eagerly awaiting a crop of new Star Wars books, slated to be released between now and the new movie.

Battlefront II: Inferno Squad, Christie Golden (July 25)
Coming really soon! Christie Golden wrote one of the only recent Star Wars books I did not buy, Dark Disciple (2015). That was a tale written from a "lost" Clone Wars cartoon episode wherein Quinlan Vos (eh) teams up with Asajj Ventress (ok) to defeat Count Dooku. Didn't sound like enough for me to go out and get that one.

This book, however, purports to be a continuation of the video game tie-in that brought us the wonderful Battlefront: Twilight Company (Alexander Freed, 2015). If Inferno Squad is anything like Twilight Company, I will be very pleased.

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan, Claudia Gray (Sept 1)
I'm a big fan of Claudia Gray's Lost Stars (2015) young adult offering; less a fan of her later work, the Leia tale Bloodline (2016). Very interested to see how she handles Leia in this one.

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Phasma, Delilah S. Dawson (Sep 1)
This is the book I am most "blah" about. Captain Phasma doesn't really do it for me. Not a huge fan of the over-rated chrome armor or of The Force Awakens era, the First Order, etc.

From a Certain Point of View, various (Oct 3) [anthology]
This one Nate mentioned some time ago, I think. This is a collection of short stories. Very cool. 40 stories for the 40th anniversary. Hopefully they're as great as the now-Legends Tales From... series. Could be very fun.

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: the Legends of Luke Skywalker, Ken Liu (Oct 31)
Sounds good to me. I am always ready to read about our buddy Luke.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi novelization, author unknown (date unknown; likely early 2018)
No idea about this one, yet, but of course it will be on the horizon, eventually.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Meet the Fleet, part 26

Flashback to Wave IX. I was skeptical at first about wanting to include the ARC-170 in my collection, but FFG did a great job making them look believably beat-up and scrounged. The Rebels have no doubt been rough on these old warhorses, and it shows.

The ship is a beast, the down-turned nose reminds me a bit of a vulture somehow.

In an interesting design choice, they only have 4 unique pilots for this ship in the game...underlining the notion that this is not a widespread vehicle in the Rebel fleet. There aren't any full squadrons of ARC-170s, for instance, if the clues are to be believed. As to who those pilots are, its a bit surprising: Norra Wexley, Shara Bey, Thane Kyrell, and Braylen Stramm.

Norra Wexley, from the terrible Aftermath books, who flew a Y-wing into the second Death Star.

Shara Bey, from the Shattered Empire comics, who flew an A-wing at Endor.

Thane Kyrell, from the great Lost Stars book, a great early Empire TIE fighter pilot and then X-wing pilot, from Hoth to Endor to Jakku.

Braylen Stramm, from Star Wars Insider's Blade Squadron mini-series (the first new official canon fiction after the Disney Legends reboot!), who flew a B-wing at the Battle of Endor as a Deputy Wing Leader.

Why FFG choose to shoe-horn all of these pilots from different craft into this outdated vessel is unknown to me. I guess they have a list of pilots they'd like to include, and a list of ships they want to develop, and the two lists are independent of each other.

I hope that Bey, Kyrell, and Stramm find their way into their "regular" ships at some point in the future. I don't care what happens to Norra Wexley or Mr. Bones.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Preferred Canon, Miniature Edition

I am a big fan of the Galactic Civil War era of Star Wars and I am a stickler for my preferred aesthetics.

Over the last few months I have been culling my growing FFG Star Wars miniatures herd, weeding out those ships which annoyed me in one way or another.

It all started on the X-Wing side, I would say, with my purchase of the VCX-100, Ghost. It was so big! And so different. I have always thought that ship looks like a crude flying brick (and that's being generous). I like Hera a lot. I am OK with Kanan. The rest of the crew (especially Chopper) annoy me. The show started to bug me, too. I quit watching after season 2. I like Darth Maul...but he was cut in half. I don't care for retconned stories about B-wing origins, etc. Don't get me started with Wedge Antilles. Or the size of the A-wing. Or which capital ships Vader might be able to kill single-handedly.

At any rate, this humongous, lumpy brute of a ship never felt like one of the gang, sitting on my shelf beside the Falcon and Outrider. So I sold it. While I was at it, I also sold the Agent Kallus crew card that came with the otherwise awesome Imperial Gozanti-class Assault Carrier. For a clean sweep of Rebels material, I also sent the Inquisitor packing in his TIE Advanced Prototype. The solar panels are on the insides of the wings, for cripe's sake.

Then I turned my attention to the K-wing (a vessel of dubious heritage from 16 years after the Civil War period). Gone. Along with it went the Imperial monstrosity the TIE Punisher. Too weird looking.

My purge went to not buying some expansions, as well as selling those I mention. I am not interested in the Quad Jumper, the Protectorate Starfighter, the Upsilon-class shuttle (Kylo fleeping Ren doesn't actually fly his own shuttle, does he?), the Shadowcaster, the E-wing, or Sabine's TIE. Reasons: Rebels, Episode VII, or anachronisms (the E-wing is a New Republic era starfighter; also of dubious design lineage, in my mind). While I skip the ships, I use eBay extensively to get the cards and components I like from the sets I avoid, like the stuff from The Force Awakens core set (damage decks, upgrades, even maneuver templates, etc), astromechs, Smuggling Compartment, Rigged Cargo Chute, Burnout SLAM, BoShek, etc. The rest of my fleet cannot be expected to miss out on goodies packaged with some odious vessels, can it?

I am open to the Auzituck Gunship (who doesn't like Wookiees?) and the TIE Aggressor when they come out. Not the Scurrg H-6.

I have been similarly active on the Armada side, as well. Ships I have sold after owning for awhile (both due to "look and feel" issues) are the Rebel Assault Frigate Mk. II and the Imperial Gladiator-class Star Destroyer (from the 1980's cartoon Droids, no less!). What's next, FFG, Itchy, Lumpy, and Bea Arthur singing about Life Day?

I have not purchased (and will not) the flotillas. I don't like the idea of having a single mini represent the Falcon by itself, but a group of Gozanti-class cruisers has to stick together for some awful reason. Add in the incessant complaints people have about their rules and I say "No, thank you."

I wanted to get the Pelta-class frigate, in theory, but I don't care for both the strong Rebels tie-in and the strange rules wherein a small fry of a ship like that gets some kind of unique bonus ability to command a fleet. What? The admirals riding on the largest ships can't pull off the tricks of the low-lifes on a converted medical frigate from the Clone Wars? No.

Also not interested in Rebel Fighter Squadrons II, with E-wings, Ghosts, and Shadowcasters.

I have not purchased The Corellian Conflict campaign expansion yet, either. Not sure about that one. Almost wanted it just for the Rogue Squadron X-wing squadron card...but then I realized that most of the good pilots from Rogue Squadron already have their own squadron cards. Odd.

I am eagerly awaiting the upcoming Hammerhead Corvette two-pack and the Imperial Light Carrier. Even though the Light Carrier has a strong Rebels vibe, I like the theoretical ability to carry more non-hyperdrive-equipped squadrons into combat. I am working on home brew rules for Carriers. It seems too thematic to not worry about where the TIEs come from when the fighting begins.

I very much expect to see, and soon (and will definitely purchase), Admiral Raddus and his MC-75, Profundity. I hope they do the right thing and mount it on a large base.

Meet the Fleet, part 25

The other wonderful release tied directly to Rogue One: the Incom UT-60D U-wing. I quite like this ship. The wings even sweep back! Two things about this make me a bit sad: first, no K-2SO crew card (or pilot card!). Second, no Chirrut Îmwe crew card. They must be coming in a future expansion! We can't have Cassian Andor and Baze Malbus languishing without their partners in crime, can we? No. We cannot.

I do wish this vehicle had been the start of an integration into a ground combat add-on game. This is a strike team insertion vessel, built to be just like a military transport helicopter. Like the UH-60 Blackhawk, perhaps?

A handsome vessel at any rate.

Meet the Fleet, part 24

Heroes of the Resistance. Of course FFG could make me buy a second Millennium Falcon. Poe Dameron's orange and black Black One is pretty cool, too. Forget for a minute that Poe's call sign is "Black One" and he leads Blue and Red Squadrons.

One interesting note is that this is apparently a brand-new sculpt for the Falcon, not just change in the dish. You can tell the difference, if you look very closely. I like the mini, I like Rey and Finn. Fine, I'll buy a second Falcon.

Frankly, I'd buy a third, if they could think of a reason to sell me another.

Meet the Fleet, part 23

Two of the iconic TIE Strikers, as seen in Rogue One. I like the look of these craft; but FFG missed the boat in not making it a two seat light bomber, like the excellent Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide describes. The wings even move up and down, to aid in atmospheric flight.

Meet the Fleet, part 22

The newest member in the Epic Play Club: the Scum & Villainy C-ROC Gozanti-class cruiser. A nice looking (appropriately Scum-y) ship. One of the best parts is that this vessel comes with the Jabba the Hutt crew card. Nice!

This vessel came with an alternate re-paint M-3A Scyk Interceptor. These two are the 96th and 97th ships in my fleet!